American poet and novelist Sylvia Plath once wrote, "There must be quite a few things a hot bath won't cure, but I don't know many of them." The idea of a steamy bath and a glass of wine or a cup of hot tea sounds just lovely. A good soak is definitely one of life's simple pleasures.
Thankfully, there are more and more small soaking tubs available in response to the renewed interest in creating a spa-like atmosphere in one's own home and the downsizing trend. As we move further away from "McMansions," we find more manufacturers willing to focus on more practical sizes of bathroom fixtures and fixtures that hang off walls. You can find plenty of freestanding tubs that are 60 inches and under. For example, check out the Purescape made by Aquatica that stands just 51 inches high, 30 inches long and 26 inches deep. This tub can fit two people. The same manufacturer makes another version of the freestanding Purescape that is 39 inches by 26 inches. Corner tubs are harder to find in small dimensions, but there are some that are 48 inches on each straight edge and fit into a tighter bathroom arrangement. More common dimensions are 60 inches by 60 inches or 54 inches by 54 inches
The aging market is interested in walk-in hydrotherapy tubs. Walk-in bathtubs are upgraded amenities, and are costly items, at around $3,500. However, these petite tubs allow the elderly to walk into a tub, sit down and fill it up. A typical size can be 45 inches long, 26 inches wide and 40 inches high to the top of the door. These types of tubs have a seat and a safety grab bar. It is logical to install one of these tubs in a downstairs bathroom so that a person with physical limitations could be well-served on a ground floor.
It is also possible to locate small freestanding clawfoot tubs. Perfect for smaller spaces, Kingston Brass produces a slipper cast-iron clawfoot tub that is only 53 inches long, 25 inches wide and 21.63 inches deep. That deep interior allows one to still enjoy the warmth and comfort a claw foot tub despite the short length. The sloped back allows the user to relax in a natural and comfortable position.
Sign of the Crab makes several small freestanding tubs and their Harmony edition is only 49 inches long, 31 inches wide and 22 inches deep. This tub retails at just under $2,500 but a search of the Internet can yield discounted prices on all tubs.
Sometimes it is more gracious to install a smaller tub and leave space for other amenities such as the shelves shown. Folded and stacked towels are reminiscent of a spa. There is the option of installing a wall-hung TV or speakers so that the bather can enjoy music of their choice. Another fun amenity is the use of an electric towel warmer.
Another item that enhances a leisurely bath is a bath tray. This allows for a reading stand to keep a book or newspaper dry or a flat surface to hold a beverage of choice. Don't forget a terry cloth or plastic head pillow for complete comfort. Reading in the bath demands that there be good general lighting. If that is not possible, try battery operated book lights. If you are going for true luxury in your bathroom, consider items such as a wall-installed coffee station or a refrigerator drawer. For the ultimate treat, include a warming drawer for large bath sheets and electric tile heaters under the floors.
Photo Credit: Valspar
Christine Brun, ASID, is a San Diego based interior designer and author of "Small Space Living." Send questions and comments to her by email to [email protected] To find out more about Christine Brun and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.